On 21 June 1999, Switzerland, the European Community and its Member States signed seven bilateral agreements. These included the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons (AFMP). The basic rules on the free movement of persons, as they apply within the EU, were thus introduced in Switzerland. Annex III of the AFMP provides for the mutual recognition of professional qualifications. The EU directives which Switzerland has adopted in the area of the recognition of professional qualifications are listed in Annex III of the AFMP. This means that the European system of recognition of professional qualifications also applies in dealings between Switzerland and EU member states.
The EU Directives adopted in Annex III shall apply if the given professional activity is regulated in the host Member State. This is the case when national legislation, regulations or administrative provisions stipulate that only holders of a specific qualification may carry out a given professional activity. Any EU country can regulate a professional activity on its own territory. This means that a professional activity may be carried out in one country without having to obtain recognition of the foreign qualification, whereas in another country, recognition will be required. Switzerland has a liberal practice and regulates fewer professional activities than EU member states.
Mutual recognition of professional qualifications between Switzerland and EFTA member states
In dealings between Switzerland and other EFTA states (Iceland, the Principality of Liechtenstein, Norway), the same mutual recognition rules apply as in dealings between Switzerland and the EU.
Appendix K of the EFTA Convention, revised by the Vaduz Agreement of 21 June 2001, lists the EU Directives that apply within EFTA States in the area of mutual recognition of professional qualifications. When Annex III of the AFMP was updated, Annex K of the EFTA Convention was also adapted accordingly.